Making New Cultural Waves in California and Beyond

As impressive as Orange County is in many regards, few people would consider this part of the state a cultural hotspot. However, these streets have seen the rise of many of the most important trends in music, food, and fashion for several decades. The young adults that came here in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s helped shape the tastes of an entire country. Even if they were originally drawn by the promise of world-class surfing or opportunities for year-round skateboard practice, their legacy actually lives on in the entrepreneurial spirit of Orange County.

The Sound of Southern California

Entertainment is big business in the OC. We have loads of clubs and concert venues; plenty of up and coming musical artists played house concerts here long before they got their big break. Innovators in many musical genres have come from Orange County and surrounding areas. Rap, hip hop, surf music, ska, pop, punk – countless innovators began their commercial success right here.

New California Cuisine

California’s unique climate makes it ideal for growing a fresh abundance of food throughout the year. This has provided chefs with an astonishing array of ingredients to experiment with. Furthermore, the many cultural influences that have shaped the population of this state have also provided an unending wealth of global flavors and culinary traditions. The result of this blending has been called California cuisine. In fact, any time you see these food innovations you are enjoying something that had its roots in California cooking:

  • Asian fusion
  • Asian street food
  • Health-conscious
  • Gluten-free
  • Local foods and the farm-to-table model

California cuisine and new California cuisine are distinguished by exceptionally fresh ingredients, often sourced as close to the restaurant kitchen as possible. Regional specialties such as avocado are likely to feature prominently in traditional California cooking; today many traditional Asian flavors such as spicy kimchee are being integrated into old favorites. Surprising and novel flavor combinations are a hallmark of California cuisine.

Culture Everywhere You Look

As a surfer, I know that taking calculated risks is a necessary part of success. This is a philosophy shared by many regional entrepreneurs. I think we are all the richer for their willingness to try new sounds, flavors, and styles.

California has so much to offer.
California has so much to offer.

Top 3 Connections Between Small Business Ownership, Entrepreneurialism and Surfing

If you’re riding the big wave of small business ownership, entrepreneurialism or surfing in Orange County, California, to achieve results you need to understand that form follows function. Dreaming and preparing are the driving forces behind taking action, whether it’s surfing, owning a small business or exploring entrepreneurship. To deliver results, a fast, flexible, fundable and scalable vehicle is essential. The top three connections between surfing and small business ventures include the following:

  1. Sharpening your board. Surfers know that the sharper the tip of a surfboard, the faster it will go. A unique selling proposition is a good starting point, but many entrepreneurs make the mistake of stopping there. You have to sharpen your pitch by clearly articulating a product or idea for your target audience.
  2. Accelerating success by mitigating risks. Starting a small business is similar to surfing for the first time. Planning for reduced risk in anticipated or uncertain situations enables you to establish methods for handling that risk. The result is accelerated success.
  3. Creating value. Nearly anything of value is risky, including the big wave or a new business venture. The key is understanding the risks before you leap into diversification. Establishing a winning concept, whether in surfing or entrepreneurialism, allows you to create value and manage whatever circumstances you encounter.

Few small business owners or entrepreneurs start by taking on the big waves. The difference between those who just imagine and plan and people who design and develop is taking action. The immediate intention of a surfer is to jump in the water, stand up on the board and stay on top of it. The long-term objective is riding a great wave. As an entrepreneur, the immediate focus is on self-funding or finding creative financing for the business venture quickly. The long-term goal is to ride a great wave of innovation and produce significant value.

Surfing and Entrepreneurship
Surfing and Entrepreneurship

The Evolution of the Surfboard

There are many different types of surfers and locations where to surf, but all of them have one thing in common – the surfboard! The surfboard has changed and developed over the past thousand years. Historians have been able to trace the roots of surfing back to 2000 BC where many of the boards were crudely constructed. I created a presentation to showcase the development of the surfboard. Please feel free to comment or share with anyone who might find this interesting!

The Evolution of the Surfboard from Russell Wallace on Vimeo.

“Eddie” Returns After A Six Year Absence

“Eddie”, a big wave competition, took place at Waimea Beach for the first time in six years this past weekend. The waves reached a record height as many of them reached to be 60 feet. In order for a competition to be considered an “Eddie”, the waves must be over forty feet high and be sustainable all day. This year, El-Nino played a big part to the height of these waves as the weather pattern fueled the water and the creation of them.

2010_mavericks_competitionBig-Wave surfing has consistently drawn in a big crowd to the beaches of Hawaii. A record number of people lined the beach to watch 28 professional surfers engage the monster surges of the bay. It’s estimated that over 25,000 people came to the beach in awe of getting the chance to see the “Eddie”. Some people camped out for 24 hours to get a prime view of the competition.

Many people do not know the legend behind the heroic person it honors. Eddie Aikau was a Waimea Bay lifeguard and a surfing pioneer when it came to Big Wave surfing. The legend says that not a single person passed during his tenure as a lifeguard. At 31  years old, he lost his life retracing the route from Hawaii to Tahiti; something his Polynesian ancestors did. The canoe Aikau and his team were in capsized twelve miles off the coast of the Hawaiian island, Molokai. Eddie was last seen paddling on his surfboard in an attempt to seek help.

The competition was named after him to honor his contributions to the surfing community and the way he would brave waves that others were too afraid to. The competition name was cemented in 1984 after organizers of the competition debated if the conditions of the water were too dangerous. One professional surfer responded to the organizers stating that Eddie would go. Eddie’s brother, Clyde Aikau, is the only surfer to have entered the previous eight competitions. At the age of 66, this year was the last year he will be participating.

Besides the return of the “Eddie”, the competition had the largest payout in big wave surfing with a prize of $75,000. This year’s winner was John John Florence, a 23 year old native of Hawaii. He scored 301 points out of a possible 400. It was his first “Eddie” and a dream come true for him. He tweeted after the competition that “Such an honor. Thank you Aikau family, Brock, and Hawaiian water patrol ! A day I won’t forget.”

4 Tips for a Healthy and Happy Winter


Winter – it brings up many negative connotations for people. Winter can be one of the hardest seasons for people to cope with for many diverse reasons. As someone who lives in Southern California, winters are not as harsh for me. The majority of the country, though does not have the same blessing as I do. Snow, freezing temperatures, strident winds and road hazards are a few examples of why people do not enjoy winter.

Embracing the cold is the guidance that I give many people. Staying positive can be difficult, but  it’s important to have this mindset. Winter can be something to look forward to; not pull away from. Here are four tips to help assure you have a healthy and happy winter!

1. Find the good in winter! There are so many positive things that take place in the winter. First off, all the major holidays take place in the months of November, December and January. Between Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, and Thanksgiving, there are copious amounts of events that occur. Relish in the celebrations and time spent with your families. Besides all the entertainment, there are numerous winter-themed treats that arrive. Peppermint Mocha, Hot Toddies, Eggnog are just a few of the delectable treats that jump into my mind. Find whatever makes you elated and run with it.

2. Tailor your workout to the winter! When the temperatures drop and the wind is brutal, the last thing anyone wants to do is go outside to workout. It’s important to exercise in the winter as working out helps to raise endorphin levels and ensure you have a strong and healthy immune system. Harvard supports this idea and has written often about how a healthy lifestyle will boost your immune system. If it’s too cold outside for a run, keep a workout DVD on hand!

3. Ensure you are getting some sun! Vitamin D deficiency is something that affects many adults in the Northern Hemisphere. US News suggests that half of the population of the entire world is Vitamin D deficiency – which is a lot of people. As the sun’s rays become weaker in the winter, it’s important you make up for it. If it’s possible, stand outside for a couple minutes in the day to soak up those important sunrays. If it’s not possible for this to happen, talk to your doctor about a supplement to help in the meantime.

4. Don’t hibernate! It’s easy to fall into a habit of going home straight after work and staying in for a night of Netflix. It’s important to keep up the same social habits that you may have during the spring or the summer. Interacting with people is critical in keeping yourself happy and healthy during the winter. Use this time to do something you may have never thought of doing. Itching to start a book club? Looking for someone to start a wine club? Always wanted to try spinning? Find a buddy and try it out!
Thanks so much for reading! Please feel free to comment or share with anyone who might benefit from them. Check back soon for more updates!

Murky Surfing

The winter season brings with it winter storms. Despite California’s seemingly “perfect” weather, the state still gets slapped with some awful storms from time to time. This winter with the return of “El Niño” – a complex weather pattern that creates fluctuating temperatures, and high winds, resulting in fierce storms – has brought with it an array of problems to the California coastline. Power Outages, flooding, fallen trees, and even deaths were reported during the most recent ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) cycle. According to, beach goers and surfers are seeing some different effects however, as California coastlines are pumped with loads of dirty water.

According to Heal the Bay’s Senior Coastal Policy Manager Dana Murray, one inch of rain from a storm can translate into one billion gallons of runoff in LA County storm drains. Since so much surface area is covered by asphalt, large quantities of rainfall are not absorbed into the soil, but instead streamed right into municipal storm drains. Most of Southern California’s storm drains run into the ocean, draining billions of gallons of LA street water into the ocean. Yuck.

“Dirty water” running into the ocean is definitely a health hazard for surfers and beach goers in California. Since much of the runoff originates from streets and sidewalks, much of the dirty waters flowing from the region’s storm drains contain harmful pathogens, pollutants, and fecal bacteria. This pathogens can cause infectious diseases like Hepatitis, Salmonella, Shigellosis, E Coli., Enterococci, MRSA, Conjunctivitis, and others. Each of these is just as harmful as the other if not treated properly. Some, even with treatment, can be truly unpleasant. Therefore, in order to avoid future discomforts, you should take a few extra precautions before running into the water after a storm.

For starters, don’t surf in dirty water. Once the 72-hour warning goes into effect, heed that warning. Find the discipline to stay away from the water even if you’re a beach bum or surf aficionado. If you have any open wounds, it is ABSOLUTELY imperative that you stay out of the water.

Secondly, screen your surf turf. Be very selective of where you choose to surf and swim after a storm. Definitely avoid swimming in areas near storm drains and river mouths. Make sure the area you surf doesn’t seem too murky, and please, avoid taking gulps of bacteria soup while you’re in the water.

Finally, check yourself thoroughly after the fact. If even a few days have passed it’s better to be safe than sorry. First try to blow as much water from your sinuses as possible. Scrub and disinfect any cuts or abrasions with alcohol and anti-bacterial products. And lastly, shower and brush your teeth immediately (either at home or at the beach showers). Don’t forget to clean behind the ears !

If you liked this post and are interested in reading more info on surf and swim, check out my blog for more. Thanks for Reading !